X-1A in flight with flight data superimposed. Photo: NASA/Dryden Flight Research Center.
This photo of the X-1A includes graphs of the flight data from Maj. Charles E. Yeager’s Mach 2.44 flight on December 12, 1953. (This was only a few days short of the 50th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight.) After reaching Mach 2.44, then the highest speed ever reached by a piloted aircraft, the X-1A tumbled completely out of control. The motions were so violent that Yeager cracked the plastic canopy with his helmet. He finally recovered from a inverted spin and landed on Rogers Dry Lakebed. Among the data shown are Mach number and altitude (the two top graphs). The speed and altitude changes due to the tumble are visible as jagged lines. The third graph from the bottom shows the G-forces on the airplane.

X-1A in flight with flight data superimposed. Photo: NASA/Dryden Flight Research Center.

This photo of the X-1A includes graphs of the flight data from Maj. Charles E. Yeager’s Mach 2.44 flight on December 12, 1953. (This was only a few days short of the 50th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight.) After reaching Mach 2.44, then the highest speed ever reached by a piloted aircraft, the X-1A tumbled completely out of control. The motions were so violent that Yeager cracked the plastic canopy with his helmet. He finally recovered from a inverted spin and landed on Rogers Dry Lakebed. Among the data shown are Mach number and altitude (the two top graphs). The speed and altitude changes due to the tumble are visible as jagged lines. The third graph from the bottom shows the G-forces on the airplane.